The Helpless Consumer

By | July 21, 2022
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The Helpless Consumer

Is it just me or have big companies intentionally made it hard to get in touch with them if something goes wrong? 1’m going to tell you a true story – a saga -that began in February and looks like it’s going to continue through the summer. 

As I said it began in February when I decided to purchase a new toilet from Lowe’s. I carefully went through Lowe’s website, read reviews, and tried to find the best toilet for the money. I’m not a wealthy man, so finding the best bang for the buck is important to me. I’m old and don’t know how many years I have left, but I certainly don’t want to ever have to ever shop for toilets again – it’s no fun.

On February 27, 2022, I ordered a nice American Standard toilet – not the cheapest toilet on the site – but a far cry from the fancy toilets with all the extra doo-dads – like heated seats (although that does sound nice to an old codger like me).

And the saga began…

My toilet was shipped via FedEx and was supposed to arrive on Thursday, March 3, 2022. FedEx sent me updates, and on March 2, 2022, I got a notice from FedEx that my shipment was delayed and would be late. OK…that’s fine. I’ve been sitting on the same old toilet for over forty years, what’s a few more days? 

A day later I received a notice from FedEx that my new toilet was damaged in transit and was not going to be delivered. Dismayed and disappointed (I was really looking forward to that new toilet!), I called Lowe’s and after getting on the telephone merry-go-round, ended up talking to a dispassionate young man named Greg. I explained the situation to him and he assured me that I could go ahead and reorder the toilet the charges for the damaged toilet would be removed from my Lowe’s bill. I asked Greg to put it in writing for me -which he seemed reluctant to do but finally did…

Thank you for contacting Lowe’s. .

I understand how disappointing it can be when you are awaiting an item for your latest project and it arrives damaged. Our store associates can make this right so please take your damaged item to the store for replacement. If you prefer to repurchase prior to making your return, please contact Customer Care via phone.

Lowe’s is committed to helping you achieve your home improvement goals. We have the right products, service and value – whether you’re a DIY customer, Pro, or prefer someone else to do it for you. We’re here to help online and in our stores, so if you need additional assistance please contact us.

Thank you,

Greg,
Lowe’s Customer Care

After re-reading Greg’s reply, I realized he just didn’t get it – he sent back a boilerplate letter. But trusting that I could get the charges for the toilet that was damaged in transit removed from my account, I stupidly re-ordered the toilet- and even more stupidly I ordered it from Lowes.

The saga continues…

I ordered the new toilet on March 9, 2022, and it arrived on March 14th. I know nothing about installing toilets, but luckily I have a friend who is a handyman – I fix his computers and he fixes stuff in my house. The old barter system. In early April. I set up a time for my friend and handyman to install the new toilet. When he opened the box, he found that the toilet was cracked and not usable. He took it to a local Lowe’s store and exchanged it for a new one and installed the new toilet and all worked well. 

In April, I got my Lowe’s credit card bill and I’m being charged for the toilet that was damaged in transit as well as the one that arrived damaged but was exchanged (an even exchange) and installed in my house.

Lowe’s does not handle its own credit cards, rather they outsource it to some bank called “Synchrony” which I don’t believe to be a real bank. I’ve never seen a Synchrony bank, have you?

Anyway, I called Lowe’s who told me to call Synchrony Bank. It seemed to meSynchrony does everything possible to prevent you from speaking to a human being who cares. I think Lowe’s and Synchrony are in cahoots. But I’m nothing if not intrepid. I persevered through rounds of press 7 for this, press 3 for that, and press 6 to do this. I finally got a real human being – a surly princess whose name I cannot remember – who basically told me to buzz off-things don’t happen that fast. My claim had to be investigated. It would take 60 days – and that’s how it is – so buzz off. No credit would be issued to me for the toilet I never received, the surly princess set me straight.

In May, I received another Lowe’s bill and the charges for the toilet were not removed, but since the surly princess of Synchrony bank had told me the “investigation” would take 60 days, I let it go  Surely, my next bill in June would show the correct amount.

But no!

My June bill from the Lowe’s/Synchrony combine showed the charge for the toilet I never received (the one damaged in transit) as well as the toilet I did receive, I called Synchrony circus again, and talked to a nice lady this time. She apologized and assured me that this would all be straightened out and it would be corrected on my July statement.

But no!

The July statement came and the charge was still on my bill plus a charge for $6.48 INTEREST. I decided I would write the head honchos of Lowe’s and Synchrony Bank so I sent an email to the following.

Anika Green Watson
VP, Complaints Executive Inquiry Response Leader (Synchrony bank)

Carrie Moran
Corporate Consumer Relations  (Synchrony bank)

Michael Bopp
Executive Vice President & Chief Customer Engagement Officer (Synchrony Financial)

Ronda Harlow
Director Executive Customer Relations (Lowe’s)

Vincent Scalese
Executive Vice President of Operations (Lowe’s)

Marvin Ellison
President and Chief Executive Officer (Lowe’s)

Now, I’ve done this before. One time when my Time Warner internet service was out for three days and I fired off an email to ten or so corporate officers (my internet was back up a few hours after I sent these emails).

And one time with Verizon when I ordered a new phone and the wrong -more expensive phone arrived and they would not send me the correct phone. I wrote to as many Verizon corporate officers as I could find, and ended up getting a call from a Verizon VP who gave me the more expensive phone free with a very sincere apology.

But it’s been four days since I wrote to Lowe’s and Syncrhony and I’ve not heard a word from either of them. Can it be even the company officers don’t care? I don’t know what to do next but I’m still being charged for a toilet I never received and even the CEO of Lowe’s doesn’t seem to care. 

I feel like a helpless consumer who has had $151.05 stolen from me. Lowe’s doesn’t seem to care nor does their partner, Synchrony Bank.

I’m a helpless consumer… but I’m not giving up Lowe’s and Synchrony…

You’ve not heard last from me!

 

4 thoughts on “The Helpless Consumer

  1. Sharon

    Unfortunately, you’re not alone. It used to be that the customer was always right but now, that is not the case and as long as they get your money, to heck with you. Putting a stop on your credit card might work if it wasn’t a Lowe’s credit card. It might be worth a try but I think you’ve already tried that. Don’t give up. Lowe’s is a well-known business. Do they have a web-site where you can file a complaint? I sure do hope you get some satisfaction with your problem.

    Reply
  2. Hazel

    Since Covid, the struggle with lack of customer service is real. It’s been increasingly worse since Covid shutdown ended. Companies truly do not seem to care about serving their customers like they used to, even to the point where they are rude to customers. I think this has to do with greed, although many tend to justify it by believing they are making up losses they had over Covid pandemic. Personally, I think they now use it as an excuse because when you look at their quarterly earnings, there is no loss. It’s just downright greed. Online purchasing thrived during Covid.

    This is not to say that businesses didn’t suffer loss over Covid, but I believe it was smaller businesses that really suffered the hit to the point where many sadly had to close up for good.

    Reply
  3. Pearl

    I’ve had similar experiences with shopping on-line. I have much better luck with shopping in the store. A while back I bought a washer & dryer from Lowe’s. It was so big, I could not close the laundry room door. They took it back and we bought another set…top loader so the door would not be an issue. I did not like the way the 2’nd set washed the laundry. Lowe’s took them back as well. No issues even when they knew i was headed to a store that carried a brand that they did not have. It helps when you are face to face with the store employee.

    Reply

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